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Mainland Tourists Visiting Taiwan to Decline by One-Third Starting March

icon2016/01/25
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 Mainland Tourists Visiting Taiwan to Decline by One-Third Starting March

Sources: All Taipei Newspapers

January 25, 2016

According to the Tourism Bureau under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, 4.18 million Mainland tourists visited Taiwan last year, bringing in US$ 6 billion foreign exchange earnings to the Central Bank.

 

Roget Hsu (許高慶), a former secretary-general of the Travel Agency Association of the Republic of China, confirmed that Mainland travel agencies had already verbally informed Taiwan travel agencies that the Mainland would reduce the number of Mainland tour groups allowed to visit Taiwan by one-third to one-fourth starting March.   Not only would the number of Mainland tour groups be reduced, but the number of Mainland cities from which individual tourists could visit Taiwan could be reduced from 47 to just four.

 

Hsu bluntly stated that if the Mainland put restrictions on the number of individual tourists who could visit Taiwan, it would severely impact Taiwan’s tourism industry.  Hsu went on to say that if the Mainland prolonged the duration of the restrictions, Taiwan’s restaurants, hotels and travel agencies would suffer severe repercussions.  Hsu called on the governments on both sides of the Strait not to use tourism as a bargaining chip, adding that he hoped that Taiwan’s incoming DPP administration would prudently consult with the Mainland.

 

As the number of individual Mainland tourists has skyrocketed in recent years, “taxi tour guides” have found a growing market, earning an average annual income of up to NT$ 1 million (US$ 30,000).  A taxi tour guide, surnamed Huang, stated that Mainland tourists usually hired him for periods of 7 to 8 days.

 

Mainland tourists paid NT$ 6,500 (US$ 196) to 8,000 (US$ 242) to taxi drivers and bought souvenirs as well, creating huge business opportunities for Taiwan.

 

Huang added that if the Mainland only allowed individual tourists from four cities to visit Taiwan, Taiwan would lose huge business opportunities.

 

On January 22, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) stated that they would consult the Taiwan Affairs Office under the Mainland’s State Council through the cross-Strait communication channel because the restrictions on Mainland tourists allowed to visit Taiwan would affect cross-Strait exchanges.  The MAC expressed the hope that the Mainland would desist from restricting the number of Mainland tourists allowed to visit Taiwan.

 

Mainland China always uses a two-handed strategy: a stick in one hand and a carrot in the other.  The Mainland’s position after Taiwan’s general elections was crystal clear.   If the incoming DPP administration refused to recognize the “1992 Consensus,” the Mainland would consider reducing the number of Mainland tourists allowed to visit Taiwan, which will be the easiest of options.

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